Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2010 @ Irving Plaza, 5/19/10

Cheetah Chrome. Photo credit: Christopher Rosco

It was 2001 when Joey Ramone passed away at the age of 49, and while his birthday could have been a reminder to fans that punk’s founding father left us too soon, it has become a celebration of his life, as proven nine years later on May 19th at Irving Plaza. The population of pin heads has increased over the years, all gathering with some of Joey’s friends and family at his annual Birthday Bash, hosted by his younger brother Mickey Leigh. Both grandmas and brats united to commemorate what would have been Joey’s 59th birthday with a slew of performances by both veterans and newcomers.

While the New York Dolls weren’t featured at this year’s festivities, the evening did provide some tricks and treats for a crowd pledging their allegiance to Joey. Some of the evening’s many highlights included carny act Sic F*cks, featuring men in revealing Viking drag and their tacky suited front man howling “Blitzkreg Bop.” Former Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway even joined the troupe, armed with Dee Dee Ramones’ actual bass because “he couldn’t make it.” Dance rockers Morningwood heated up the night with acrobatic front woman Chantal Claret demanding everyone join in a fierce rendition of aerobics that not even Jane Fonda could master. There was also horror ska group The Independents, formerly managed by Joey. Evil Presley never skipped a beat and provided his signature King snarls.

The Joey Ramone Family Band

True Ramones fans weren’t left in the dark at this year’s Birthday Bash. Richie Ramone entertained with both brash vocals and infectious drumming, whereas Cheetah Chrome’s rowdy rendition of “The KKK Took My Baby Away” deserved an encore. The night wouldn’t be complete without Leigh, giving everyone a peek into the upcoming Joey Ramone solo album currently in the works. It was a treat that glue sniffers happily relished. Not even death could prevent Joey from releasing new work.

The Joey Ramone Birthday Bash gave New Yorkers hope that despite growing condos, the gritty spirit of the city led by The Ramones’ towering front man is alive and well. Joey isn’t here with us, but with his friends and fans uniting every year for one night, his legacy will never die.

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